KGB Documents

Ideological censorship

One of the main features of the soviet totalitarian system is the territory and information control system referred to as the Iron Curtain. Its function was not only to control movement of persons inside the country but also to control the dissemination of information inside and outside it. A strict system of censorship and ideological control had to select information suitable to the public space and to form an adequate attitude to the Soviet and Western democratic systems, as well as to suppress possible anti-Soviet manifestations and to create a favourable image of the Soviet system in the West. That was a necessary condition for the dissemination of the communist ideology seeking to form the Soviet man and to ensure obedience in society. The participation of the KGB in the censorship system was the function of its new province, the advocate of ideological indoctrination. The KGB and Glavlit (Russian censorship office – Main Administration for Literary and Publishing Affairs later renamed Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press) controlled and took actions to ensure that no “ideologically hostile and harmful” literature should get access to the country. The Diaspora press, with the exception of that favourable to the Soviet system, was banned. Literature confiscated was stored in special library stocks, which were accessible to a small group of people only.  Despite the fact that the KGB made great efforts to ensure that the information, the press and literature from the West should not reach those stocks, ways of procuring these publications were found. The role of the KGB of the Lithuanian SSR is testified to by its great attention devoted to the activities of publishing houses and the mass media; the KGB saw to it that their publications should be in line with the course of action pursued by the Party and should make the most of their possibilities to achieve their goals. The KGB of the Lithuanian SSR could decide whether to print certain books and some other publications in Lithuania if they could be beneficial to its activities.

Competition in the fields of war, technology and science that took place during the Cold War, the need to conceal information strengthened the role of the KGB as a censor even more substantially. In the opinion of the KGB, the foreign Intelligence was most interested in social, economic and political processes taking place in the USSR, the economic situation in the country, branches of economy related to military industry, energy, transport, military and other strategic objects. The KGB sought to prevent the leak of strategically important information to the West. Strict control of movement of information and people had to ensure that. One of the most significant functions of the counterintelligence divisions was to guarantee confidentiality of documents, products and work in strategically important, i.e. regime enterprises. Adequate measures had to guarantee confidentiality of information: ciphering, encoding, masking, disinformation, the development of the territories prohibited from being visited. The regime enterprises were allowed to publish only official information about jubilees, elections to people’s councils, sympathies.

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